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Saturday July 20, 2024

Fakhar Zaman shines as Pakistan beat New Zealand by five wickets

Pakistan now lead ODI series 1-0

By Sports Desk
April 27, 2023
Fakhar Zaman celebrates after scoring a hundred. — PCB
Fakhar Zaman celebrates after scoring a hundred. — PCB

RAWALPINDI: Babar Azam-led Pakistan Thursday beat New Zealand by five wickets in the opening one-day international (ODI) of the five-match series at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.

Pakistan batter Fakhar Zaman proved to be lethal as the left-hander helped the Green Shirts chase down 289 runs in 48.3 overs to win the first ODI of the series against the Black Caps.

The left-handed opener had a great run in Rawalpindi as brought up his ninth ODI hundred that too in a winning cause for Pakistan.

Fakhar was phenomenal with the bat throughout which helped him score the highest 117 runs in Pakistan's five-wicket victory.

Set to chase 289 runs, Fakhar alongside Imam-ul-Haq gave a perfect start to Pakistan with an opening partnership of 124 runs. Considered one of the solid opening pairs in ODIs for Pakistan, Fakhar and Imam showed responsibility and resistance in front of the Kiwis.

Imam scored 60 before falling to Ish Sodhi in the 22nd over. But, Fakhar kept his nerves calm and scored worthy runs for his team. Skipper Babar Azam remained unlucky as he got out on 49. However, his brief stay at the crease helped Fakhar keep going.

Mohammad Rizwan, who was sent down at number five, scored 42 not-out with a winning shot in the end.

For New Zealand, Adam Milne bagged two wickets while Blair Tickner, Ish Sodhi, and Rachin Ravindra shared a wicket apiece.

Daryl Mitchell carried the momentum so well for New Zealand as they posted 288-7 in 50 overs against Pakistan in the first ODI of five-match series in Rawalpindi on Thursday.

Mitchell alongside Will Young built a solid partnership after New Zealand lost their opener Chad Bowes (18) in the 10th over. New Zealand were 48-1 when Mitchell and Young joined hands to rescue their team.

A 102-run partnership off 101 balls helped New Zealand put their strong case in the ODI series opener. The highlighting partnership put Pakistani bowlers under immense pressure but they made a solid comeback.

Naseem Shah, who bowled a brilliant first spell, couldn't find his first wicket but Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Shadab Khan pulled off a decent show with the ball.

Young fell to Shadab after scoring 86 runs laced with eight boundaries and two maximums. But, Mitchell kept going and partnered with skipper Tom Latham for another worthy partnership. They both scored 72 runs together before Shaheen got rid of Latham (20).

Shaheen also bagged Mitchell in the last part of the innings after the right-hander already did the job for his team. He scored 113 runs including 11 boundaries and a maximum.

Naseem also took two back-to-back wickets to finish his dominating spell of 10 overs. He conceded just 29 runs and took two wickets for Pakistan.

TOSS

Pakistan won the toss and decided to field first against the Kiwis in the match.

The Black Caps shocked the home side by squaring a preceding five-match Twenty20 series 2-2 despite missing eight players — including skipper Kane Williamson — due to the ongoing Indian Premier League or injury.

Under stand-in skipper Tom Latham, New Zealand adapted to the conditions skillfully, roaring back from 2-0 down to win the third and fifth matches, with the fourth abandoned after rain.

Pakistan have won five of the seven ODI series that Azam has captained. His two losses came against England in 2021 and New Zealand in January this year.

But New Zealand boast recent dominance over Pakistan. Of the last six ODI series between them, New Zealand have won five and drawn one. Their last series defeat against Pakistan was at home in 2011.

The other matches of the current series are in Rawalpindi on Saturday followed by Karachi on May 3, 5 and 7.

Playing XI

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (c), Shan Masood, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Agha Salman, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf

New Zealand: Chad Bowes, Will Young, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham (c & wk), Mark Chapman, Henry Nicholls, Rachin Ravindra, Adam Milne, Ish Sodhi, Matt Henry, Blair Tickner